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Studying work: A Sociologist in the HALLS of Management. Karen Foster | Management Department. My Background. Undergraduate in Sociology (Dalhousie) Masters in Sociology with Specialization in Survey Methods (Waterloo)
Karen Foster | Management Department
Long tradition of sociological research, philosophy and theology about generation(s).
“The sociological phenomenon of generations is ultimately based on the biological rhythm of birth and death. But to be based on a factor does not necessarily mean to be deducible from it, or to be implied in it.[...] Without history and social structure, generations would cease to exist, and this history and social structure must be taken into account in any definition of or analysis of generation.”
In the politics of representation, the “selection of words” and “topics” is one of the primary “strategies” which “proponents of various views use […] to ensure that their framing of the nature of a particular issue predominates” (Wenden, 2005:91).
“Language has power. The language we use in public political discourse and the way we talk about events and people in everyday life makes a difference in the way we think and the way we act about them. […] Words have constitutive power: they make meaning of things. And when we make meaning, the world is changed as a consequence” (Mehan, 1997:251).
From my interviews: two opposing “framings” of generational differences.
“I guess I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility to Canadian retail, in that I wanted to see them do better, be more efficient and more competitive […] I really would like to see excellence prevail.” – Marsha, 55
“Work is not the essence of life for them like it was for us”; “I’m satisfied with my contribution, over all”; etc. – William, 60.
“That’s one thing about it. I liked workin’, I liked it; all my life I figuredIshould be workin’. But once I had that feeling, yeah, after the last few months there, the way things were goin’, I said, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to be away from all this?’ You know? And uh, I ’member gettin’ up that Monday morning and thinkin’ ‘oh man, this whole week’s mine: I [can] do what I wanna do!’” – Victor, 86
“[Work is] important to me that it gets me out of the house, it gives me a little bit of spending money . . . it made me some new friends, but important to me as [if] I’m doing, I’m, you know, having a contribution to . . . the community or, you know . . . no . . . not really. I’m doing it for a contribution to myself, so that I’m not sitting at home becoming a couch potato […] I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it gives me purpose.” – Angela, 57
“My mother […] wants all of her children to have really easy lives, but what she just wasn’t understanding was that easy didn’t mean happy for me. And, in fact, easy meant really boring and unfulfilling to me. So I just—there was no way of me making her understand that” – Maia, 36
“I do say to some friends, you know, ‘it’s not worth it’ and [they say] ‘well, you know, five more years I get my pension.’ And it’s like ‘five more years? What happens if in six years you die?’” – Jake, 41
“Canada does underperform. We are not as productive as we could be. Our potential growth is slowing. Moreover, this is occurring as the very nature of the global economy, in which we previously thrived, is under threat. This debate can no longer be avoided.
What, then, must be done?
There are two imperatives–one domestic, one international–to secure strong, sustainable, and balanced economic growth for Canada. Both recall Aesop's fable of the ant and the grasshopper, the moral of which can be best summed up as "idleness brings want." In short, in a wicked world, Canada needs productive virtue” – Mark Carney, 2010
Step 1: A “genealogy” of productivity: locating the “birth” of this concept, refusing to accept it as a given.
Some genealogical findings:
Step 2: Case studies